Soranî, Kurmancî, Başûrî, Zazakî, Goranî, and many more! Flag of Kurdistan

The Kurdish language has many dialects, similar to the many English dialects around the world! It is quite similar to Arabic and Persian, reading from right-to-left, but there are subtle differences with the letters.

The Sorani dialect (Kurdî Nawend/Central Kurdish) is the official dialect in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. This is the primary dialect used in the capital city of Erbil, and surrounding areas.

The Kurmanji/Kurmancî dialect (Kurdiya Bakur/Northern Kurdish) is the most spoken dialect, because it extends beyond Iraqi Kurdistan, into the neighboring countries that have a Kurd population (Türkiye, Iran, Syria). Kurmanji is also the dialect used in the Yezidi Kurds' holy writing.

The Başûri dialects (Kurdî Başûrî or Kurdî Xwarg/Souther Kurdish) have subdivisions that extend into Kelhurrî, Kirmaşanî, Îlamî, and Feylî. It is also spoken by Kakeyî and Yarsanî Kurds. It is one of the pure Kurdish dialects.

The Zazakî dialect (Kirdkî, Kirmanckî, or Dimlî) is spoken in the regions of Dêrsim (Tunceli) and Çewlig (Bingöl). It is closely related to the Gorani dialect.

The Gorani dialect has subdivisions; Hewramî (between Iraq-Iran), Şebekî (in the Mosul area), Bacelanî (Bajalani), and Sarlî. This dialect has been used in old Kurdish poems.

Sorani, Kurmanji, and Başûri have many similarities. Zazaki and Gorani share many similarities.

For the alphabet below, we are focusing on the Sorani script, used throughout Iraqi Kurdistan.
As with Arabic and Persian, the letters change depending on where the letter falls within a word.

Initial: the first letter of the word.
Medial: in the middle of a word.
Final: the last letter of the word.
Isolated: alone, not touching any others.

Isolated Final
Phonetic Listen
A, a
ا ـا ئا father
B, b
ب ـب ـبـ بـ bear
C, c
ج ـج ـجـ جـ jungle
Ç, ç
چ ـچ ـچـ چـ cheese
D, d
د ـد د dog
E, e
ە ـە ئە egg
Ê, ê
ێ ـێ ـێـ ێـ yes
F, f
ف ـف ـفـ فـ fun
G, g
گ ـگ ـگـ گـ go
H, h
ھ ـھـ ھ hat
Ḧ, ḧ
ح ـح ـحـ حـ Hussein
Î, î
ی ـی ـیـ یـ week
J, j
ژ ـژ ژ pleasure
K, k
ک ـک ـکـ کـ king
L, l
ل ـل ـلـ لـ love
Ll, ll
ڵ ـڵ ـڵـ llama
M, m
م ـم ـمـ مـ man
N, n
ن ـن ـنـ نـ not
O, o
ۆ ـۆ ۆ old
P, p
پ ـپ ـپـ پـ pizza
Q, q
ق ـق ـقـ قـ Qatar
R, r
ر ـر red
Rr, rr
ڕ ـڕ ڕ rolled r
S, s
س ـس ـسـ سـ sun
Ş, ş
ش ـش ـشـ شـ show
T, t
ت ـت ـتـ تـ top
Û, û
وو ـوو oops
V, v
ڤ ـڤ ـڤـ ڤـ van
W, w
و ـو و wood
X, x
خ ـخ ـخـ خـ Bach
Ẍ, ẍ
غ ـغ ـغـ غـ rip
Z, z
ز ـز ز zero
ع ـع ـعـ عـ uh